Daily Reflection – 4/18/2023
Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:7-15)
Jesus is pretty hard on intellectuals. They are like the rich in that they have a lot of obstacles to overcome to enter into the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was a recognized elite Jewish scholar, a Pharisee, and a member of the Sanhedrin. But something was missing for him. He knew he didn’t have all the answers, but he was pretty sure that Jesus did.
So, Nicodemus listens, and this is what Jesus told him that Jesus tells all of us.
Religion alone cannot save you or anyone. You must drop your faith in systems of religious knowledge and rules and draw on salvation from Jesus alone. You have to be reborn from above, through the Holy Spirit. So how are we reborn in the Spirit?
Jesus teaches us that it is not the credentials of this world and human action, but the works of God through the Holy Spirit that saves us.
We have to recognize that our being in control and our accomplishments can get in the way of our own and others’ salvation. We must let go of all that and let God work through us and others.
We need to claim our birthright in Jesus. The mission of Jesus Christ on earth was to conquer sin and bring us to our Father. That is, if you will, our birthright as followers of Christ.
Never let go of that.
Never let go of the love that He has for us.
Never let go of the fact that regardless of our burden, He walks at our side. His hand rests lightly on our shoulder, and He whispers “Rest in me. I will give you comfort.”
Nicodemus needed to separate his faith from what he could see and control in the natural world and place it in the spiritual world where God is in control. Jesus reminded him that the working of the Spirit is like the working of the wind. You can’t see it and you can’t control it.
Our work, our efforts, and our knowledge don’t make it happen. We can’t save ourselves. But by making our relationship with God a priority of our lives, we let the Spirit work in us. That cost Nicodemus his wealth and status, but not his life, in fact, just the opposite, by being born again, he gained his life.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, today I pray for the grace and the depth of love to be loving with my loved ones and my friends, to be kind and gentle with the people I struggle with and may I strive to be the face of Jesus to the people we meet today!”
God finds many ways to speak to us so that we will understand. For example, when feelings of peace or hope or expectancy well up as you read Scripture, that is God speaking to you. When creative ideas or resolutions to issues you are dealing with come to mind while you sit in prayer, that is God speaking to you. When you are filled with wonder and praise for the Lord as you watch a glorious sunset, that is God speaking to you.
The important thing is to expect that God will speak to you. You will learn to recognize his voice as you spend time carefully listening to him. Sometimes his voice is loud or booming, but so often it’s gentle, simple, and quiet. God is good and patient, and he will keep speaking until you understand what he is saying.